Good Things on Stranger Things- TV Show Review- Imani Amour

In our setting of Hawkins, Indiana, 1983, everyone has their monsters—both figuratively and literally. Take the evil Demogorgon monster for example, who has stolen Will Byers and left behind his devastated family and friends. They must all slay their monsters of grief and some even battle supposed insanity when they start seeing and hearing paranormal signs of Will and the Demogorgon . Meanwhile, Nancy Wheeler battles her monster of societal pressure to maintain her good girl, straight-A student image while she falls for dreamy, bad boy Steve Harrington; it just seems like she can never have both. However with more sightings of the Demogorgon and the arrival of Eleven (a girl with supernatural powers that sense Will in a different reality) everyone must drop their inner demons to help fight the real ones. Stranger Things is the story of Mike, Dustin, Lucas, Joyce, Chief Hoppers, Nancy and Jonathan pitching together to kill the Demogorgon and bring Will home from this alternate reality called the “Upside Down”.

While I usually steer clear of thrillers and scarier stuff like this, I actually enjoyed this show. I feel like some scenes were easier to face because the main actors are so young so nothing could possibly be too scary…which was great news for me! However, do not let their young age deceive you on their skills; they produce such remarkably realistic acting skills. As a matter in fact, all of the actors on this show execute exceptionally—notably Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton.) The producers did well to develop the 80’s setting with costuming, hairstyles, cultural habits and the retro-looking cars and cameras. Perhaps my favourite part of this entire show is the title screen and music. As a repetitive tune gradually intensifies, flashes of the letters from the words “Stranger Things” momentarily flash on screen and slide together until they form the entire show title. The title screen itself is like a puzzle or a mystery coming together— just like the show is solving the mystery of Will’s disappearance. The music keeps looping the same notes over and over because, often times, the characters are walking around in circles looking for the Demogorgon or Will and he’s right there! He’s just in the “Upside Down” reality version of their world. Plus I am always captivated by the intensifying of the music. What a well thought out tittle sequence!

Secretly, I feel that Dr. Martin comes from the Upside Down. In a few scenes he is always standing or walking in a spot where his image is reflected in a dark mirror or window. Is this an interpretive choice to show that he is native to the Upside Down— which is a “dark reflection of our world”? Why else does Eleven call him “Papa”? In order for Dr. Martin to be so familiar with monsters that they can call him Papa, I guess he must have some strong affiliation with the Upside Down—like being born there. Also, I wonder if there’s any significance behind Eleven’s name or if she’s just the eleventh subject Dr. Martin has had for his experiments. I know for many people, 11 is a “gateway” number and they say that if you make a wish at exactly 11: 11 then there’s a path for your wish to come true. Maybe Eleven is the one that opened the gateway to the Upside Down or something. Also, something about John and Will’s favourite song, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” sticks with me. I mean other than the fact that it’s such a catchy hit, I feel some sort of significance like the words apply to the show but I’m not quite sure how yet. Perhaps this hunch will be explained in the next season. What do you think, fellow writers? I always love to hear good fan theories about shows. If you’re a fan, leave your predictions and theories in the comments below!

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